Did I Inherit A Hair Loss Gene?

Men who start to go bald even before a mid-life crisis may have their mothers to blame, according to a new study. Researchers have found that the main construction manual for a full head of hair is located on the X chromosome, which sons always inherit from their mothers.

This genetic storage space contains the so-called androgen receptor gene, a long time balding suspect. Looking at men who were losing their hair at a relatively young age, a team led by Markus Nothen, PhD, of the Life & Brain Center at Bonn University, Germany systematically examined all of the genetic patterns within the X chromosome to see why certain hairlines recede faster than others. It’s not a pretty picture.

The study, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, claims that a single alteration in the androgen-receptor gene is the major reason why some men end up going bald before their fathers. Nearly half of bald men would not be bald if they did not have this genetic variation. The hair loss in these younger men, he added, was much more severe than in the men who still had a reason to use a comb in their 60s.

The two approved medicines to treat hair loss (Rogaine and Propecia) need to be taken for a long time to see results. With Propecia, doctors sometimes advise their patients not to expect any results before at least six to eight months. And both need to be used indefinitely to maintain its effect. Once you stop, hair loss will continue.

Although there are only two medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat hair loss, many people are interested in other, alternative treatments. The herb saw palmetto has been used for many years in Europe to treat symptoms of an enlarged prostate and there is some evidence that it may also be effective in treating hair loss.


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